Fine dining for a cause

October 9, 2011

By Christina Lords

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In his several decades of experience as a chef, Elijah Coe has fed the likes of the British Royal Family and presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

But at the 14th annual Chef’s Night Out Culinary and Wine Experience, Coe will create a meal that will benefit a different type of audience — Washington families facing hunger and malnutrition.

Last year’s event raised $51,000 for Cooking Matters, a partnership between Solid Ground and Share our Strength, which offers classes in nutrition and food budgeting for struggling families.

“It’s really for people of all ages,” said Nicole Wicks, Chef’s Night Out event manager. “The program teaches them how to cook, how to cook on a budget and, perhaps more importantly, how to cook healthily.”

Each of the 13 participating chefs will create a minimum five-course meal at The Golf Club at Newcastle, which helps facilitate the event at a discounted rate.

Attendees will be arranged in groups of 10 people per table, and someone at each table will spin a wheel to determine who will be its chef for the night.

Tickets to the Oct. 30 event are $200.

For Coe, the executive chef at The Golf Club at Newcastle’s Calcutta Grill, the event is a way to meet and collaborate with other Seattle-area chefs, showcase his own work and contribute to a worthwhile cause.

“It’s great to speak to other chefs,” he said. “They’re all talented, and when you can recognize that talent, it’s great for everybody.”

Coe said while he can’t give away too much about what the meal will consist of other than its seasonal flavor with local influence, he did guarantee 100 percent of the food will be made by hand — down to the pastas and the butter being served.

Understanding where their food comes from and understanding the nutritional value of healthy food is something people are really losing sight of, Coe said.

Wicks said Cooking Matters conducts an exercise where it gives children or families $10 in a grocery store to buy as much food as they can, and most come back with a frozen pizza or other processed food.

By the end of the classes, the same participants have come back with $10 worth of basic items like vegetables, breads and essential proteins that could be used in several recipes, she said.

“They come back with the knowledge that Brussels sprouts aren’t necessary horrible, and they’ve worked up some really cool recipes for kids and families on the go,” she said.

Learn more about Cooking Matters at www.cookingmatters.org.

If you go

Chef’s Night Out Culinary and Wine Experience

The Golf Club at Newcastle

15500 Six Penny Lane, Newcastle

5-9 p.m. Oct. 30

$200 per person

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